Animal rights groups are calling on government officials in Guangxi, China, to put an end to the annual dog meat festival in Yulin.
At least 5,000 dogs will be butchered over the next 10 days, as the so-called festival is already underway.
According to Humane Society International, the Yulin Lychee and Dog Meat Festival was started in 2010 by dog meat traders to boost sales and takes advantage of local tradition to legitimize their event.
The festival begins on the solstice — June 21 — and involves thousands of cats and dogs being killed for meat. Some animals are stolen and come to market still wearing collars and tags.
The cruelty with which the animals are treated is appalling. They are jammed into wire cages and trucked as far as 1,500 miles with no food or water. Some die along the way.
According to a Humane Society International bulletin: “Those dogs stacked at the bottom of the truck become drenched in urine and feces, while those in the middle can suffocate to death. Others die from illness, dehydration, or heatstroke long before they reach their destination.”
The trucks are loaded and unloaded roughly, and animals are often badly injured. They are beaten to death at the slaughterhouse.
The tide has turned within China and many there do not support the festival. However, attempts to have formal bans brought into law have stalled.
The UK Mirror reported that the British animal protection group — NoToDogMeat — has been helping activists in Asia bring change.
Dog meat is ostensibly illegal in Yulin, but animals are still brought to the markets, and often in smaller trucks that hide the driver’s purpose. For the last few years, checkpoints have been placed on the roads by Guangxi officials to stop trucks carrying dogs, but some continue to get through.
The Guardian reported last year that China’s Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Affairs singled out dogs as forbidden when creating a list of animals allowed to be raised for meat.